Mitchell Reports | May 23, 2012
>> exclusive interview with mark halperin , mitt romney responded directly to his attacks on bain capital . mark has just returned from conducting that interview which will be part of the magazine's newest issue and is up online. he's also, of course, an msnbc political editor. thank you very much for joining us as a contributor. very interesting in that you tried to pin him down on bain and he pivoted in a sort of classic game changing way. let's take a look.
>> the president says he wants to focus a lot of the election debate on your career at bain capital . do you welcome that?
>> well, of course, i'd like to also focus on his record. what is it that he's done as the president of the united states over the last four years? has he established the revitalization he promised he would bring to us? did he hold unemployment below 8%? it's been what, 39 months now. that hasn't happened. he promised it would happen by virtue of his stimulus. gasoline prices , home prices , are they happy with the prices? level of foreclosures? do they think someone can do better? this is a president who spends his time blaming other people for the fact that he has been unsuccessful in turning around had economy. i think the reason you're seeing it across the country people saying they'd like to try someone new is because they believe this president, while he may be a nice guy is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy.
>> he doesn't respond directly to the challenges about the job losses, the companies that were put out of business. what many people including of course, the obama commercials claim, are the way private equity does push people out and simply increase profits as they are supposed to but increase profits rather than creating jobs.
>> in the face of the president and the vice president going directly at all those issues, i gave him several chances to push back. clearly as you saw from that portion of the interview, he wanted to talk about the president's record and wants this election to be about the record. he did reply once and said there's so many things to do. he said i can read a balance sheet. he did talk about energy. i think there may be the beginning of a possible pushback where he said when i took over companies i saw what their energy bills were like. i know to be competitive in our society and the word economy, you need to bring down energy costs . i will do that.
>> he doesn't say how. he's not laid out a real energy policy .
>> he's got some energy policy . certainly for instance, he's advertising saying he would approve the keystone pipeline , thing the president hasn't done yet. so i think that people do want to hear from him as i asked him, what is it about your experience at bain? what is it really? what does it problem to you? the president and vice president are saying it doesn't prove anything. as joe biden said, it doesn't make him any more qualified than being a plummer. he's so certain that people get that that just saying 25 years in the private sector , people get what that means he hasn't fully realized he has to explain it more. if you listen to the energy answer, you'll hear at least what i think is the beginning of laying out something that says huh, maybe that experience is about more than just in some instances people losing their jobs
>> he has brought back something that republicans have tried to use against president obama , the community organizer tag. let's watch this clip.
>> you welcome scrutiny of your business record , is that right?
>> well, mark, what i can tell you is this, the fact is that i spent 25 years in the private sector . and that obviously teaches you something that you don't learn if you haven't spent any time in the private sector . if you were to say to me, tell me what you learned from your schooling that would help you be a president, it's like how do i begin going through a list like that. you learn through life's experience. the president's experience has been exclusively in politics and as a community organizer . both of those are fine areas of endeavor. but right now, we have an economy in trouble. and someone who spent their career in the scome more suited to help fix the economy than someone who spent his life in politics and as a community organizer .
>> twice he mentioned community organizer . when he talks about fixing the economy, he made news in your interview because he also said that he would not do anything in the lame duck. he does not want a grand bargain and doesn't want to do what john boehner is talking about and what business groups are screaming for, which is addressing all of the issues. if he doesn't want to do it in the lame duck, would he let the bush tax cuts expire?
>> the aftermath of the election is important. with all those things the tax cuts that go away january 1st and the spending cuts that come in, that would be cataclysmic and put us back in recession. in the lame duck session where a lot of members of congress say if he's the president elect , he doesn't want for president obama as a lame duck to work with the current congress to try to get things moving. he doesn't want them to do anything. he doesn't want his hands tied. he wants it dealt with when he takes office january 20th . he won't clear on whether he wants at least the lame duck to pass an extension. what he suggested was that rather than do a grand bargain, a big package of tool big to fail package with tax reform and spending and tax changes, he thinks you could deal with it skeengsly. unlike speaker boehner who thinks the only way is one big package, he said you could deal with it over time , perhaps passing something that would extend the tax cuts , extend -- put off the spending cuts till a series of packages could be passed. that's a big difference both of those things from what a lot of people in washington are talking about.
>> mark halperin making news right here again. congratulations on that.